i love you

Men Are Softies, Say ‘I Love You’ First, Study Claims (But There’s a Huge Hitch)

If you thought dudes were locked boxes when it comes to emotions, a new study is going to shock you. That’s because researchers found that men are actually more likely to say “I love you” first in romantic relationships.

But before we get into that, let’s revisit a previous study on American couples that found men were more likely to say those three little words first, even though most men expect women to say them first.

Men apparently are the ones more likely to admit to their amorous feelings – a phenomenon researchers dubbed the “male confession bias.” There’s just one huge hitch: they often do so before having sex, so whether or not the sentiments are sincere is in question.

That study was done over a decade ago, so a man named Christopher D. Watkins, along with an international team of researchers, decided to reopen the subject. They asked 1,428 people across Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Poland, France, and the UK who said “I love you” first in their romantic relationships, either past or present.

Once again, it appeared men were the ones to make their feelings known first. The strange thing, however, is that women were more likely to report that, meaning dudes said “I love you” first, but they didn’t want to admit it, at least not to researchers.

“This may suggest that social stereotypes associating women with romantic intimacy, or motivated reasoning on these issues to maintain a particular self-image, might shape people’s memory of this episode,” the study authors wrote.

These patterns were seen all over the world – except, oddly enough, in France, where both men and women said “I love you” first at about the same rate.

Another interesting finding is that there was no gender difference in how happy people felt when they heard “I love you” from their partners, indicating that if you’re nervous about saying it first, go ahead and stick your neck out. Your girlfriend will not only appreciate it, but she likely feels the same way about you. Aww. Isn’t love grand?

Cover Photo: Dimitri Otis (Getty Images)